Monday, 7 December 2015

A Beacon And Baton of Creative Community



This is how the front of The Fleeting Arms looks now. The windows covered up and the bigs eyes of Dr TJ Eckleberg staring out in to Gillygate - a street of independent traders in York City Centre, with a bus park at one end and the city walls at the other.  Behind the eyes is a three-hour theatre experience. 

This is new. Not just the eyes, but the whole thing. We are running The Great Gatsby across all three floors of The Fleeting Arms. It's a free form immersive piece of theatre where the audience pick their own routes around the show. It's full of big dances, cocktails, physical sequences - and it's also full of intimate moments, caught conversations, even a few scenes in a cupboard. As far as we know, nothing like this has happened in York before. 

The fact it is happening is not something we can take credit for. In many ways, we are sitting on the shoulders of communal giants. We have hitch-hiked a leg up from hundreds of people. We have hi-jacked something so strong and important. And, we hope, by doing it we will leave something worth hi-jacking by the next folks. 

Photo by Ben Porter
You see, The Great Gatsby only exists because The Fleeting Arms exists. 
The Fleeting Arms exists because the amazing cultural community in York exists. 
The amazing cultural community in York exists for so very many reasons. Indeed, the staging of the York Mystery Plays in the Minster next year is one of the biggest icons of York's incredible creative community. 

York is swathed and swaddled in history. We are hugged by our medieval walls, churches nestle down wonky alleyways and the walls of buildings lean in at impossible angles. We are a city full of hundreds and hundreds of years ago. But within the old stone and cobbled streets, there is a city that is reaching out its hands to mould the hundreds of years to come. Sometimes this is in big gestures. But sometimes this is small. For us, now, this is a brilliant bunch of people breathing life in to an empty pub. People who nine months ago said yes to a new bit of adventure. 

Sure - it's temporary. But we should celebrate that it has happened. Because each time something happens the simple truth is that it can never un-happen. And, so, when the next person comes along and says 'I want to set up a community arts pub' people don't look at them so strange. 

We owe The Great Gatsby to all of the people who have come before us. 

And - quite simply, quite humbly - we owe it to all the people who come to see the show. Not just because they are our audience in the last month of The Fleeting Arms, but because they are the audience for the risky show after The Great Gatsby. They are the audience who will now travel across the city, or drive in, or jump on a train to see a new piece of work. The people who buy a new outfit to dress up in, grab some dinner, book a hotel room - because of theatre, because of art, because back in February people agreed to throw their weight and creativity in to an empty building. 

The hundreds of years to come are not defined by what buildings we build or what policy we make. They are defined day to day by people. They are defined by people lighting beacons to move towards, or bonfire to gather round. They are defined by people passing the baton on. 

Photo by Chris Mackins
We have been the recipient of a pretty amazing baton. The Fleeting Arms is and has been of its moment. And it's a great moment. 

So in the last few weeks of The Fleeting Arms, we want everyone to come and celebrate with us - to build an audience who will be there, ready, for the next thing that has never happened before. We want to keep building, keep pushing, keep learning.

Come play. Come help pass the baton. 


Monday, 9 November 2015

To The Good, The Kind & The Inspiring - From The Humbled

The Real Blair - Veronica - Jim

I've told this story before, but on a dark night in November 2014 we stumbled in to a pub at the edge of Scotland and met a man called Blair. Since then we have created Fable, inspired by him and his home turf - a beautiful village called Ardfern. 

View From The High Line
In the last week of October, Fable was playing simultaneously in New York and touring the Highlands of Scotland. I am constantly and consistently flawed by the kindness, generosity, creativity and curiosity of people, of places and communities. To take our little show to the Soho Playhouse in New York, backed by the support and the money of so many people, is heart-swellingly amazing. To tour a show to some of the most beautiful places I have seen, to be welcomed in to people's homes, to sit and eat with strangers who so quickly become friends - that is heart-swellingly amazing. 


We hold ourselves open to adventure - but that doesn't account for everything. We have fallen in the path of some truly amazing people. And I genuinely can't sing the praises of Ardfern enough - as people and as a community they are truly truly inspirational. If ever you're passing, pop in. Halloween was something else in that little haven at the end of a lane. 

Jim and Veronica in Smoo Cave
But we would never have found that lane without folks like Lindsay Brown, Play Pieces, The Touring Network, National Rural Touring Forum, Scottish Mental Health Arts And Film Festival - there are lists of organisations we should thank. But in all those organisations are great people. Day after day after day, good people do brilliant things. 

It's easy to get angry at the world and to rail at the things we should rail at - and we should rail at them. But when on one side of the world Veronica, Jim and I are parading around a pitch black village, looking up at the milky way - and on the other side of the world Joe, Claire and Henry are finishing our first ever run Off-Broadway...these are the golden moments. And behind these golden moments are so many people, places and open arms that got us here. 

Claire at The Soho Playhouse

From dive bars to a genuinely terrifying haunted houses to being locked out of apartments to tours of award winning breweries in working mens clubs to feeling like your stood at the centre of the universe to feeling like you're stood at the edge of the world. This is one very special journey - our huge and genuine thanks to everyone who has pointed the way, held our hands, or walked a stretch with us.

There was a moment where Veronica's face was on three continents - in America, in the UK and in Australia. Because next we head off to Vault Festival in London and then we head to the Adelaide Fringe...long may the adventure continue. 

The following people are golden - this is not an exhaustive list...

Joe Hufton, Veronica Hare, Jim Harbourne, Brian Hook, Henry Bird, Claire Curtis Ward, Holly Beasley Garrigan, Dom Allen, Phil Grainger, David Jarman, Lindsay Brown, Jenny MacFie, The Loch Ness Brewery, Play Pieces, The Touring Network, Lucy Walsh, Blair Dunc, Kate and Darren at Soho Playhouse, Jame Haddrell and Greenwich Theatre, Scott Morfee, Joanne Hartstone and everyone who has hosted us, helped us or given us a leg up. 

Our view of Manhattan from our digs

With all our hearts, thank you. 


Some of our Audience in Ardfern - where the whole thing started.





Sunday, 18 October 2015

Approximately 5,000 Miles


On Tuesday, at 8pm US time, Fable opens in New York.

Fable exists because we bumped in to a man in a pub in a tiny village on the edge of Scotland. Fable has been made between that village, a town on the other side of Scotland, a village in North Yorkshire, a festival in Suffolk, a month in Edinburgh, a week in London and now here - in NYC. The show has been made across nearly 5,000 miles, an incredible bunch of artists and a whole host of you - audiences, supporters, friends.

We are so proud to be associated with all those people and all those places. And we're proud that all those miles and conversations have led us here.

Thank You.

And we have one more favour to ask. If you know anyone in or around New York, or know someone who knows someone then please share this with them. The show details are here -

http://www.sohoplayhouse.com/event/6f5519ce1dcd867e18924c9278806864

- and use the ticket code 'Flanagan' to get $10 off your tickets.

Share far and share wide.

We hope we'll see you there, friends!

The Flanagans

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

FABLE - SOHO PLAYHOUSE



FABLE from The Flanagan Collective

'The Flanagan Collective's lo-fi austerity age rom com manages to go stratospheric' **** The Herald
'A show with heart and soul' **** Broadway Baby
'Bags of charm' The Guardian
'Wonderful, inspiring work' Total Theatre
'Theatre with heart' Ian Rankin


A woman runs and runs, faster and faster until she explodes in to a million shining pieces. 
A man stands at the edge of a broken pier, a glass of white wine in one hand and a pint of Guinness in the other, looking up to the stars. 

Following a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Fable transfers to The Soho Playhouse for a strictly limited run. 

Fable is a show about two people, from very different places, who profoundly change each others lives. Inspired by a real village on the far west coast of Scotland, Fable is a play about what we stand for and what we can change. It is a play about what we believe in and what we chose to put up with. 

Wound from storytelling, spoken word and live music, Fable is the latest show from critically acclaimed UK theatre company, The Flanagan Collective who make their New York debut at The Soho Playhouse.

www.theflanagancollective.com / @FlanCol

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

250 at £10



We are trying to raise £2,500 to get Fable to New York. 

In the whole grand scheme of things, it's not a lot. But person to person, no one has £2,500 to spare. And, although we have a reward for £500 on our Crowdfunder, I don't expect anyone to really pick that up. 

Instead, we're far more likely to ask 250 people to gift us £10. 

£10 is about the price of a theatre ticket, around how much it cost to see Fable in at Summerhall or Beulah in YTR's studio. 

So, if 250 people gift us £10, we will give away 250 tickets to a Flanagan Collective show before the end of 2015. Crowdfunder will tell us everyone's name who gifts us £10, and we can message you to get your email address so we can let you know where and what we'll invite you to. 

We'll do one show in York and one in London. We'll make sure it's special - because you will have helped us get to New York, which is pretty damn special.

We can, of course, raise more than £2,500. So if 300 of you gift us £10, then we'll invite 300 of you. This isn't a reward which is offered on Crowdfunder. And all the rewards on Crowdfunder still stand. And if you gift £10 and want nothing in return, then that's fine too. 

If you can afford a tenner, and think you'd like a special night some time on the other end of it, then please do think about giving us a leg up. 

You can find our crowdfunded page here

Hopefully see you in a room sometime soon.

Much Love

The Flanagans



Monday, 21 September 2015

Fable - From Old to New York


So, for us, this is big exciting news.

After running Fable at Summerhall over August, we have been invited out to New York. We have an off-Broadway transfer to the Soho Playhouse from the 20th-31st October. We're working with Greenwich Theatre in London as producing partners for our stateside debut.

We have never taken work to New York before. This is a great chance for us to perform Fable in the States. It's also a good time for us to try and meet and chat to as many industry folks as we can. We want to start conversations and relationships which we can carry on in to the future. It's great to be able to do this on the ground with a show in the city.

We have worked with such brilliant people over these last years - and now we get to take their work to a new audience and a new bunch of industry. Jim (composer) and Veronica (perfomer) will be touring the Scottish Highlands with Fable as well - so Henry Bird and Calire Curtis Ward are taking up the reigns in The Big Apple.

And we'd like to ask for your help - we want to meet people. Whether that's folks that will put us up whilst we're there, folks that will come see the show, folks that we can have a beer with, folks who work in the arts who we could chat with...we'd like to meet them all!

We're also raising some money here - this is quite simply to afford to spend the time there. We're not planning anything fancy - just your basic living costs. We want to use our time wisely, meet as many industry as we can and start to lay some foundation for the future. So, for us, this is a real opportunity to make sure we can be in the city and have those face to face conversations. If you're able to help us do that, we'd be oh so grateful. 

Fable plays as part of this season.

Thanks for reading and any sharing, helping or support for a next step in a big adventure.

Much love

The Flanagans

Saturday, 19 September 2015

What The Fleeting? 3 More Months



So we opened the doors of The Fleeting Arms at the beginning of March. Loads of hours of loads of brilliant people's time has been poured in to this place since then. Events, gigs, plays, parties, poetry, installations, rehearsals, gatherings and a fair few beers have come and gone.

But what now? We're keeping going for 3 more months - and we're keeping going in style.

Between now and the 31st December you can expect...

The Fleeting Quiz - Harry Potter / James Bond / Disney
Macmillan Fundraisers with Orillo - The Lord of The Rings trilogy / Back To The Future 1,2&3 / The original 3 Jurassic Park films / Baz Luhrmanns Red Curtain trilogy
A Rocky Horror Halloween Party
A regular play reading group

...not to mention the incredible amount of gigs and bands you brilliant folks put on here. 



And we've got plays a plenty too. In pretty exciting new Chris Thorpe's incredible award winning show 'Confirmation' is here for two nights in November.

Over Christmas we're going big. From the 3rd-31st The Guild Of Misrule take over with an immersive version of The Great Gatsby...across all three floors of the building. Expect a slamming jazz party, wild cocktails and a full throttle production of F Scott Fitzgerald's tale of parties, love and liquor. At weekends, we'll run special late night events too, after the show.

But between all that there's plenty of room for more. Want to put on an event? Need a place to meet or rehearse? Got a party to house? Well we'll be here with free space and a bar. You're always very welcome!

Thanks for your support since March. He's to a little while longer.

Keep in touch.

Alex & Jane

Fleetingarms@outlook.com
@FleetingArms
And search for us on Facebook


Friday, 21 August 2015

The Cost Of Edinburgh Fringe. And The Value Of Edinburgh Fringe.



Each year you can add the Edinburgh Festival up in pounds and pence and stars and audience figures and shows attended. You can add up the Fringe is so many quantitative ways as a company, as a venue, as a festival. But what is the actual value of running a show at the worlds biggest arts festival?

I first brought a show to Edinburgh in 2007 under the guise of Belt Up (Nothing To See / Hear). I (Alex) brought a, most likely misguided, version of Trainspotting and a play I had written at secondary school. Over 20 shows and many years later, the Fringe feels like a very different beast. 

We (The Flanagan Collective) haven't brought a new show up for a few years. This year, our experience here feels very different.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival is many things for many people. You even get asked on an application form why you are coming. And it's a good question, because for everyone here - regardless of what you want to get out of it - we put the same stuff in: energy, hard work, money...plenty of money. 

Edinburgh Fringe Festival is, though, valuable in so many ways. For me when I was 18 it was valuable as a damn good adventure. In 2008 and when we brought The Red Room as Belt Up Theatre it was valuable to be seen, to make a noise as loud as we could and for a few people to hear us. And the cost and the value don't always match up - we lost a lot of money in 2008, but what we gained was far more valuable. All of us who were involved in that first 2008 foray in to the Fringe are still here - working full time as theatre makers. And none of us would be without that year.

We are running Fable in Summerhall this year. It's a new show for us. I know more, now, about how we make theatre together than I did even in 2012 when we made Beulah. The popularity of Beulah took us genuinely by surprise - it wasn't an accident, we poured a lot of creative and care and heart in to the show. But we hadn't come up to grab 5 star reviews and international tours - to hit the jackpot as Lyn Gardner quotes. We'd come up to show some work as a relatively new company. To make a bit of noise and be seen. 

Now, with Fable, I realise it takes us longer to make work. Or rather, to finish work. This year Edinburgh is a hugely valuable place to run a show for four weeks straight. That's not easy to do the rest of the year. To run a show in London for four weeks straight is tough and more expensive than the Fringe. To run a show in a regional theatre for four weeks straight is even harder. Because, rightly so, the gatekeepers of those spaces want to see your work, they want to know what you're about. So here, in Edinburgh, they can see your work. 

What's even more valuable than that is the rest of the people who are in the city - the audiences, the artists, the programmers, the organisations, the reviewers, the old friends and the new friends. For us, this four week run is the start of a big journey for the show. We want to get it out around the UK and also out around the world. Every conversation we have in Edinburgh this year is valuable. 

Every conversation with an audience member in person or online is valuable. Every review, whether good or bad, is valuable. Every person from the industry who watches and chats afterwards is valuable. Not because that person is going to book the show right there and right then - but it's the start of a conversation. 

And every conversation is feedback on the work, or on the style, or the progression of us as a company. That's how we have found ourselves valuing Edinburgh this year. Because it's impossible to know everything about a piece of work until people are there watching it, until you've had a good run at it, until you've watched it over and over and watched other people watching it. Edinburgh is a wonderful place to do that. 

So after Fable closes at Summerhall we will pick up all the conversations we have started. And we will take all those conversations back in to a rehearsal room and feed them all in to the show. From the wonderful tweets we've had to the review which said a character based on a real person wasn't very believable - all of those we'll take with us. Because the great tweets make us happy and reviews like that mean I need to write a real person better. And that's helpful to know. 

We couldn't have all those conversations anywhere else, I don't think - in person, online, in bars, after shows, on the streets whilst flyering. It's a unique place.

Why do so many companies take their work up to Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Why do so many people risk money, energy, time on such a packed festival? I'm sure there are as many answers as there are artists up here. 

But, for us, with Fable, there is no better place to have begun this show. And 9 years after my first adventure up here, I'm happy to know that. 

-

Production photos by Alex Brenner

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Wanderings Of Rural Touring

LOOKING AND LEARNING FROM THE WANDERING STARS


We wouldn't say we are specifically a rural touring company. But we spend a lot of time in the countryside and we make work which can play anywhere - because we want to be able play a show in a theatre as easily as we can a village pub. We make a lot of work in the countryside, we make work with partners in cities and in villages and in market towns. I think because we all come from such different places - we live in woodlands, flats, an old mill, a new build - that we are all informed by where we feel at home. And, actually, we have all started to feel at home in each other's places too.

The article in guardian about rural touring was good to read - http://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2015/jul/21/rural-theatre-touring. The rural touring schemes across the UK and beyond provide such a wonderful platform for work. Vitally, though, this must be seen as a two way conversation. For us, these aren't just schemes which help audiences see new work - they are schemes which allow and inspire us to make new work because of the audiences we meet. It's as vital as any studio development scheme. 

In 2014 we made BABYLON, a show to play in pubs. It didn't matter whether these were village pubs, city bars or anything in between. We made this with 3 partners: Greenwich Theatre in London, Derby Theatre and The Fauconberg Arms Pub in Coxwold - tiny village in North Yorkshire. Off the back of BABYLON we met The Touring Network who take work around venues in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, we toured our show Beulah to 5 stunning venues. 

Next week we open our new show FABLE at Summerhall - an arts venue in the centre of Edinburgh, there is nothing rural about it. We play there for a month as part of the Edinburgh Fringe as part of a stunning international programme of work. Our show, FABLE, is inspired by a tiny village called Ardfern. Ardfern is village on the far west coast of Scotland with one shop, one road and one pub. We toured there with Beulah, we met a man in the pub - a poet called Blair. FABLE is about that man and that village. 

Not only that, but we have spent 2 weeks making the show up in the Highlands - one week in Ardfern and one week in Cromarty, on the north east coast. This show is born out of a rural arts ecology. We've lived with, been supported by, socialised with, been inspired by and shared with the brilliant people from these two communities. We hope FABLE will have a happy run in Edinburgh and we hope it will have a long life around the UK and internationally. If it does, we owe all of that to our wonderful rural touring ecology. 

FABLE plays at Summerhall from the 5th-30th August at 6:30pm.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Take To The Streets

Here is a speech I gave last night for ArtsBarge's inaugural PechaKucha night. 




Take to the streets
Take to your homes
Take to your schools
Take to your gardens
Take to your pubs
Take to the library, to the village green and to the town square
Take to the cafes
Take to your offices, your farms, your work places
Take to your social spaces
Take to your castles and priories
Take to your churches and places of worship
Take to your bedrooms
Take to your shops
Take to your superstores

And fill them.
Fill them all. 

Fill them with singing
With talking
With debating
With playing
With music
With laughter
With words
With challenges
Fill them with stories
And drawings
And imaginings and wonderings. 

Wonder aloud. 
Do not wait to be asked.
Do not wonder when you will be asked. 

Talk about it. 
Dance about it. 
Colour about it.
Write about it.
Play about it and pass it to someone else. 

Keep your hands open and see what they might pass back. 

Do not wait for permission. 
Do not wait for an invitation. 

Take to your streets and fill them with art. 
With stories. 
With imagination and wonder and don’t spend the time wondering ‘what if?’
Get up and do. 
Go.
Take to a space. Any space. And give. 
And stand in that space waiting to receive. 

Do not wait for someone in a suit to tell you you can, because you can just start doing. 
Sing on the bus and see who sings with you. Start a bus choir. 

Because art doesn’t belong to anyone. Art is not created at the behest and the say so of doctrines or policy or litigation or committees - arts belongs to us. To people. 

And it is people who populate the streets
Who sit in the pubs
Who meet at the library 
And who you see every day at work. 

And all of those people -
All of us -
Live in the here and the now, in these places and in these times. 

And - in these places and in these times - all of us might find it hard. 
But, in the words of Neil Gaimen, ‘Make great art.’

My history is, perhaps, hazy. 
But I don’t think Bertolt Brecht waited for the go ahead.
I doubt Ibsen wrote in response to a local council brief. 
Nina Simone didn’t graduate from a television show. 
They are people, in the midst of other people, who took to the streets - or their pens or their stages or their pianos. 
And they made a noise. 

Here is a proposition. 
We open our spaces and we make art. 
We meet in our pubs and we make art. 
We gather in our streets and we make art. 
We meet after school and we make art. 
In the coffee breaks at the office, we make art. 
On the platforms of the train stations we make art. 
We invite our friends and our families in to our gardens and we make art. 

And - sure - in the theatres and the galleries and the music halls and the publishing houses we make art too and that is for us and because of us because the world is populated by people. And, yes, people have invented councils and applications and funding strategies. But councils and applications and funding strategies did not create art. That sits in our hands. 

That sits in our hands and heads and hearts and bodies. We have those. 

Art is powerful. 
People are powerful. 
And neither should be diminished by the parameters we have created for ourselves. If we put up the fence, then we can take down the fence, dig under it or just walk around it. 

Gather. 
Talk.
Make.
Play.
Argue. 
Dance.
Care fiercely. 
Do not wait for the world to do the caring for you. 
Open your arms - open your spaces - and make things happen. Invite people in. Give them a paint brush or a bit of script or a ukulele or a melody to sing back to you. 

Do not demonstrate your value to the suit that sits on the council. Create something valuable with your neighbours, your friends and your family. One of them, eventually, will be the suit that sits on the council. 

No great artist has created their work because someone asked them to, because someone gave them permission to. They took to the streets and they created, proudly and passionately. No one gave them permission to be an artist. But they gathered and they talked and they shared - in public, in private, in secret - and that art resonated far beyond their scribblings and sketches. It resonated through people. So we should gather and talk and share - in public. 

I can stand and happily talk about the transformative, unifying, social, provocative power of art. But that’s not half as much fun as showing people. 

So let’s cook together, create together, play together, sing together. Let’s take to the streets not because of the bureaucracy and bullshit - but because they are our streets. They are trodden day to day by people, by us. 

So in your gardens, your schools, your pubs, your cafes, your shops, your taxis, your libraries, your churches and mosques and gurdwaras, in your offices and your fields, in your foyers and toilets, in your bedrooms and windows, in your tents and your cars and your hotel rooms, in your roadways and petrol stations

in your streets


Invite people to make great art. Do not wait for someone to invite you. 

Stuff Of Myth And Legend

The pier in Ardfern. It's important. You'll know why if / when  you see the show. 

We spent a week here. 

Ardfern is a real place, but it feels like stepping in to a story - in to a mythical world at the end of a road. It's down a single track road with this pier on the other end. The locals described it a bit like an island - a place where they party till the early hours and barricade the road with fire to stop people coming down. It's a great place. 

After being in Ardfern for four days we had performed at the village cabaret, been to a barbecue up a big hill, been dancing at the pub, ate some very tasty food and been for tea at a plant nursery. We felt like locals. 

To be welcomed in to a community so openly, so wholeheartedly is amazing. 


This is Jim, with the tasty food. 
We also did a tiny sharing of FABLE. FABLE is our new show, it opens on the 5th August at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Festival. FABLE is inspired by Ardfern, the village, and a specific man in that village called Blair. We met Blair once - late at night in the village pub back in November. He recited some poetry and told filthy jokes. We all drank a lot of whiskey. We didn't mean to meet him. He was just there. 

Since then - a wet and windy night in November 2014 - FABLE has come in to focus. It's a show about belonging, about freedom, about being able to be how and who you want to be. 

When we did our tiny sharing to 8 people in Ardfern, it was different though. It was a show about Ardfern and it was a show about their friend, Blair. Suddenly, the idea of doing a show called FABLE made so much more sense. A real man has sewn a kernel of an idea in our minds and imaginations - to us he's become sort of mythical. He isn't in Ardfern now, he's in the Arctic living with Bears. So he's turned in to a different Blair from the one the folks in Ardfern know. To us he's a symbol, a figure of adventure and independence. To the folks in Ardfern he is a friend they miss, a character they love and someone who makes up the fabric of their community. 

At the end of the sharing one person was crying. 'I just miss Blair' she said. 

Tomorrow we do a sharing in Comarty, a beautiful town on the East Coast of Scotland. A town that know nothing about Ardfern and nothing about Blair. To them, and to the vast majority of the folks who watch the show in Edinburgh, FABLE is a play. 


The Galley Of Lorne Inn - the village pub
But it's not just a play. It is a fable. It's a tale woven from a small amount of truth and turned in to a myth. We couldn't have imagined the show without having landed in Ardfern and met Blair. That's an extraordinary feeling - to arrive in a community who have inspired you to make something. And who, in their day to day lives, continue to be such a glorious, inspiring community living in a glorious inspiring place. 

Fore about the show head to www.theflanagancollective.com / @FlanCol

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

1,175 Miles

We're just packing up the car to head off to Scotland. Veronica is trying to fit 7 weeks of life in to a bag.

Yesterday we got back Latitude after previewing Fable in The Faraway Forest. It was a tough gig against sound bleed, but great to see the show on it's feet in front of people. It's exciting.


Now, we head to Edinburgh to pick up Jim. Then on to Ardfern - the village that inspired the show. Then to Cromarty, where 30 people have already booked tickets to an unadvertised scratch of the show. Then back to Edinburgh to open at Summerhall.

York to Latitude to York to Edinburgh to Ardfern to Cromarty to Edinburgh. We will have rehearsed the show between living rooms, gardens, bonfires, old fish stores, pubs, woods and halls - and across 1,175 miles. It's a good journey.

Latitude is such a wonderful festival full of such wonderful people. It's a pleasure to begin a show there.

Fittingly - after watching Kneehigh,Laura  Marling, Noël Gallagher, Blind Summit, Stuart Bowden, Years & Years, Alt J and a bunch of other lovely stuff - we finished our festival watching Phil and Dave, who play together as Gobbledigook, on a bandstand in the woods. Check them out, they're ace.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Bonfires & People




Our base is an old watermill in the countryside in North Yorkshire. We haven't been here that long but, so far, the companies of Sherlock, Romeo & Juliet and now Fable have stayed with us. 

Fable, though, is the first show that we've really made here. We've made it inside and outside. By the fire. In the garden. In the studio. 

This coming weekend we preview Fable at Latitude, in The Faraway Forest. So, just to help us along the way, we decided we'd do a very small sharing last night around the fire pit. A bunch of very friendly people came and gave their ears and eyes and thoughts on what we were making. It was wonderfully useful. 

We've started trying to share our work a lot, at various stages. Years ago, I think we would have all felt far more comfortable staying cooped up in a rehearsal room until everything was 'finished'. Now, though, it seems so much more sensible, reasonable and helpful to keep putting stuff in front of people. None of us know what is going to work, feel right, hit the moment without an audience there. And leaving that experiment until opening night is a little terrifying. 

So last night, as the sun set in the garden, folks watched and then sat round the fire and chatted - they're great. They're an important part of the process for us, now. 

So another few days in rehearsal before we head to Latitude. 

I wrote a blog a good few years ago about a good-kind-of-terrified you feel when making a new show. I like that feeling. It feels like you're making and understanding simultaneously. I feel that kind of terrified about Fable

But - more importantly - here's who I'm getting terrified with...

JIM HARBOURNE
Has worked with us on Beulah, BABYLON, Treasure Island and Romeo & Juliet. He's a musician and a performer. He can drink most people under the table and is one of the loveliest folks you could care to meet. He is also the composer and sound designer for Tortoise In A Nutshell

PHIL GRAINGER
Is a magician, musician and performer. He is currently directing a version of Alice In Wonderland around the beautiful market town of Easingwold. But he's taking a little time out of that to come down to Latitude with us. 

VERONICA HARE
Was last up in Edinburgh in 2012, running our LittleFest season and performing in Some Small Love Story. She's also taken The William Stories over to Adelaide Festival and helped to run some of our knees ups and shindigs over the years. She was in the original cast for Belt Up Theatre's The Boy James back in 2011.

JOE HUFTON
Is a wonderful friend and brilliant director. He has directed Some Small Love Story and BABYLON with us before. At the moment, he is associate on Les Enfant Terribles Alice Underground in Waterloo. Before that, Joe was director on Back To The Future and Miller's Crossing with Secret Cinema. 

DOMINIC ALLEN
Is an actor and writer. He's one of the four chaps that runs Belt Up Theatre and he has just finished two years at Bristol Old Vic theatre school. He is popping to Latitude with us before he starts rehearsals at Bristol Old Vic in August. He tells very good stories. 

BRIAN HOOK
Has taken more shows to the Fringe than most people you will every meet. He is our producer and also half of Hartshorn - Hook Productions. He makes a mean home brew, too. 

So that's our bunch of folks who, between Latitude and Edinburgh, are making and creating and performing Fable. They're a great bunch. If you see them, the show, or any of us then do say Hi and do let us know what you think.

Now, I'm going to check the weather forecast for the weekend...